Nikalsaini

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Nikalsaini or Narangkaria, a sect of faqirs whose origin is thus described :-

"After the battle of Gujrat and the pursuit of the enemy by Sir Walter Gilbert, the Khalsa (Sikh) army surrendered at Rawalpindi, and giving up their arms and receiving a gratuity of a rupee each, they were permitted to disperse to their homes. A great panic prevailed among the Sikhs of the District: very many cut off their kes or long hair, and were in great dread of being forcibly converted to Christianity. Some months after three men were seen going about the cantonments of Rawalpindi, dressed up in the cast-off clothes and hats of Europeans, and with shaven heads and face.. The eldest gave himself out to be the mahant or chief of a sect, and the others to be his chelas or disciples. The mahant played upon a two-stringed instrument known as the 'dutara' and he and his chelas. sang songs in praise of the English in general, and of John Nicholson in particular, whom they declared to he their guru. It should be borne in mind that during the Sikh rule it was by no means uncommon for faqirs to receive, through the good offices of the kardars or district officers, assignments of land-revenue from the central government at Lahore, for the maintenance of religions or quasi-religious institutions. John Nicholson was well known to the people of Rawalpindi. He had waged in the neighbourhood a guerrilla warfare during the hot weather of 1848 with Sir Chatar Singh and other rebels, and when by the proclamation of the Governor-General, dated the 29th March 1849, the Punjab was annexed, John Nicholson was appointed the first Deputy Commissioner of Rawalpindi. Therefore these men, by calling themselves Nikalsaini faqirs, were under the idea that the Deputy Commissioner of the District would feel flattered at being associated with a new sect, whose Guru he was acknowledged to be and would no doubt get them a handsome jagir or free grant with which to establish a dharmsala or. monastery all to themselves! But when they found that they were un-cared for by Nicho1son (I have been told that he had them flogged once), and got nothing for their pains, their enthusiasm cooled down, and after two or three years they were heard of no more. I often saw them and once or twice spoke to them in 1850, and, as far as I can remember,. they had not a particle of an idea concerning any of the doctrines of Christianity. They affirmed that the Bible was true, like-wise the Quran and the Granth! Indeed, I fancy that they were the originators of the Narangkarias, Nirankari, a sect of schismatic Sikhs, which sprang up in the Rawalpindi District about the time, and which 20 years ago, promised to bring every Hindu in the Sind Sagar Doab into its fold; but afterwards, for some unknown reason, a considerable number of the converts slid back into orthodoxy, and I believe there are few Narangkarias in Rawalpindi District now. The monument to general Nicholson is at the head of the Margala Pass, about 16 miles from Rawalpindi, on the Peshawar Road. I never heard of any Nikalsaini faqirs there: indeed, I never heard of the existence of any since 1852 or 1853, certainly never since the mutiny."

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